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Poster: Arck Date: Apr 23, 2012 7:44am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Woodstock Saint Stephen cut or did they really just bail out?

For no particular reason I've been watching my Woodstock 40th DVDs again and contemplating buying the 6-disc set that came out at the time.

Anyway, the curtailed Saint Stephen has always bugged me. What does everyone think? Did they really just bail out after two verses (oddly, the first and third verses) or does the circulating mixdown from the multis just contain a deft edit? If so...why? A problem with the multis?

Deadlists says "There is a cut in Stephen on all circulating copies at about 1:25 ; most of the song is missing". Phil Lesh's book says they segued into Mama Tried because Stephen "wasn't going over".

I can't detect any edits. It certainly sounds like Phil's account is accurate but he seems to have based a lot of his book on the recordings on the LMA. I don't trust his recollections of the show - the band looks pretty fried in the footage from Woodstock.

If they had segued from Saint Stephen into Mama Tried, would it have been the first and/or only time they did it? It all seems a bit fishy to me. At least the setlist indicates how weird it must have been for them - it's a bizarre, illogical show. Even so, the Dark Star and Lovelight are pleasant, if not a little staid for the most part.

Anyone got any ideas? Or could you dierct me to previous discussion about this?

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Apr 25, 2012 2:08pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Woodstock Saint Stephen cut or did they really just bail out?

Sorry for the late response. I think they just bailed, as on the tape.

Though deadlists says there's an edit at 1:25, it's not apparent - there are some mix changes, as usual for the first song in a set.
It is strange that they skip the second verse - and with two singers, that would be difficult to do.

But there's a video, too - unfortunately, I can't find a video that shows the actual segue, but this is the Stephen:
And Mama Tried, from the same camera:
(Notice that Bob & Phil are in exactly the same spot when Mama Tried starts as when Stephen ends.)

I don't see an edit in the Stephen video either - BUT, there is a discrepancy.
Compare the little guitar break between the two verses. It's different on the tape vs the video.
So it seems like there has to be an edit (perhaps the second verse was snipped) - though the video looks like an unbroken shot.

One of the 8/16/69 files on the Archive notes, "there seem to be disguised splices in St. Stephen... It seems possible that power was cutting out at times causing this problem."
So, if the second verse got neatly spliced out, perhaps the second half of the song did too....

But my feeling is that the Stephen>Mama Tried segue went down the way we hear it. The videos certainly look that way.
The band was quite confused at the show, and I think they realized after a couple minutes that Stephen was going to be a mess, and decided to switch to something simpler.

The Stephen>Mama Tried segue is unique to this show. It does seem fishy, but heck, it adds to the Woodstock mystique: "the show so bad they couldn't even finish St Stephen!"
On the other hand, if we speculate that some tricky edit took out the second half of Stephen, we have to ask - how did the song end?
Stephen never just ended, it always segued. In 1969, it nearly always went into the Eleven. (A couple times it went into Lovelight.) There's no way that happened at Woodstock.
If they didn't segue into Mama Tried, the song likely collapsed into a complete trainwreck (or perhaps the power went out altogether), which may be why that part would be edited out.
Take your pick!

This post was modified by light into ashes on 2012-04-25 21:08:50

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Poster: Arck Date: Apr 28, 2012 5:56am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Woodstock Saint Stephen cut or did they really just bail out?

Thanks for the reply. As usual, you're a goldmine of useful thoughts, suggestions and ideas (as well as information.) I've had a look at the video and listened to the Archive file and made some further observations.

There are definitely two edits in the video. They're not detectable in the video but are clear in the audio so must be there in the video, if that makes sense:
- at 1:29 there is a slightly jarring cut right after "all complain"
- at 1:39 there is a much more jarring cut during the between-verse fills that cuts in at "Wishing well".

Also, as you say, the break between the two verses is completely different on the video and on the Archive audio, meaning we have the following components of the song:
- An intro (same on both sources)
- The first verse (same on both sources)
- One between-verse break (on the video)
- A different between-verse break (on the audio)
- The third verse (same on both sources)

Notwithstanding the lack of audible cuts on the audio (I'll come back to that) this tells me that the second verse is indeed missing from both sources but that they played it. The intro, the first verse, a break, the missing second verse, another break, the third verse, the wind-down into the "lady finger" section, some panicked looks, then Mama Tried.

Just as I'm typing this, I realised this is exactly what they do on the Family Dog download - Saint Stephen, first three verses, wind-down into "lady finger", then they move into NFA. Of course, they come back to Saint Stephen having skipped "lady finger". Tt means that if they really did "bail out" at Woodstock at this point, it was something they did again later (albeit in completely different circumstances). So while it might have been the first time they did it, it becomes a lot more reasonable when you consider it wasn't the last time they segued at this point of Saint Stephen.

On another point, I agree about Phil and Bob's position at the end of Saint Stephen and beginning of Mama Tried - it's too much of a coincidence to have them in virtually identical positions and the handheld camera to be viewing them from the same spot.

You can, however, edit audio that well, if you have the inclination. I've been listening to the audio while I've written this and I can't pick up an edit but I'm confident that there must be one, if only because the explanation we've compiled makes a lot more sense to me than somehow they're so freaked out they perfectly skip a verse without missing a lyric, then bail out on the song anyway.

Hmmm, alright - I'll take a stab in the dark: the move from the first verse to the break sounds too perfect to be an edit so I reckon the break on the audio is from between the first and second verse, we have no second verse, then the break on the video is from between the second and third verse.

In other words, we have a curtailed Saint Stephen into a Mama Tried, just like you said...perhaps!

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Apr 28, 2012 8:22am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Woodstock Saint Stephen cut or did they really just bail out?

Your conclusions sound reasonable - I agree with your analysis of the two different guitar breaks. (I'm sure no one has tried to listen this closely to it before!)

Whoever edited out the second verse was a pro, I'll say that. Can't hear any snip on the Archive audio. (Have to wonder what the reason for it was, though.) The audible edits we hear in the video are very minor.
If not for the slightly different edit on the video, we'd never be able to tell! We'd just scratch our heads and say, "wow, how did Jerry & Bob both know to skip the second verse?"
I still wonder how it is the video looks unedited when the audio is cut. Technical magic...

I think the Family Dog St Stephen was not so much of a bailout, but it was one of the first Stephen>NFA segues (they'd done one before on 12/29/69), and at that point they hadn't yet settled on the right point for the transition. On 2/4 and 2/8/70 they skip the "ladyfingers" bridge, but later on they moved the transition to after "answer man."

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Poster: Arck Date: Apr 28, 2012 8:55am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Woodstock Saint Stephen cut or did they really just bail out?'s not a flawless explanation. The Archive audio sounds perfect and because the video has (to my ears) a cut either side of the between-verse break, we can't smoothly place the video-only break into the audio recording.

Despite that, I think the fact there are two unique breaks is conclusive. I doubt one of them has been flown in from another show. As you say though, why chop it out unless there was some problem with it? Maybe there really was a power problem with the recording...but would that affect the cameras? I would have thought they'd be self-powered. Anyway, both sources appear have been edited (one expertly, one a little clumsily) to hide the missing second verse.

Speaking of clumsy, I was a bit clumsy with my wording. I agree totally - the Woodstock bail out, if that's what it really was, is unique. Nowhere else do we know of them just aborting the song like that. The early 1970 Saint Stephen>NFA>Saint Stephen segue is obviously planned. I guess I just was pleased that it wasn't impossible that they'd stopped Saint Stephen at that point because they did it 6 months later (although I doubt they used the Woodstock performance as the reference point!!!)

I once asked David Lemieux about the Woodstock multi-tracks but he said the band didn't have them so he didn't know about thie segue. As usual, I am fascinated by the insignificant but I can't think of any other such mysteries where we have distinct visual and audio recordings of the exact moment yet still can't be 100% sure what happened.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Apr 28, 2012 9:22am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Woodstock Saint Stephen cut or did they really just bail out?

What really surprises me is that the Dead were not even going to be in the film or soundtrack - yet here we seem to have two separate edits which both snip out the second verse.
Either there was some serious problem with that verse, or the Woodstock editors had a lot of time on their hands, or something...but someone went to a lot of trouble to hide that verse!

Speaking of aborted songs, I think the Eleven is the winner. I can't think of how many times the Eleven got aborted in '68-69, but it was quite a few times - that song seemed to give them more trouble than any other.
Actually, come to think of it, High Time also got aborted a a few times. At Woodstock they abort it after a false start, then come back to it later - but there are other times in '69/70 when they start the intro & then just give up. Would have to look up the dates...

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Poster: Arck Date: Apr 28, 2012 7:50pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Woodstock Saint Stephen cut or did they really just bail out?

Tell, thank you for your kind words. I don't post much on here but have lurked for a long time and shall continue to lurk. Occasionally when I have something I consider worth posting, I do, but my knowledge of the Dead can't compete with the wise ones on here such as you two. Probably to be expected from a 28 year old Australian who stumbled onto the Dead unassisted.

Anyway, back to Woostock. I agree - it's not a very inspiring show. That being said, the Dark Star isn't bad at all. It's just not very interesting. The Lovelight is valiant but drags. On the other hand, it's quite amazing having the footage at all. Is there any other film or video from 1969? There's surely no footage with multi-track audio anyway.

Perhaps Bill Graham's archives has a video from one of the year's Fillmore East runs. I know I've seen some of the CCTV footage of Feb '70 before...somewhere.

LiA, as far as your speculation about the reasons for the edit goes, do we know for sure the band was never going to be in the film? Was it like Monterey where they thought the deal looked dodgy and refused...or was Woodstock a case of a lot of performers being filmed, with or without permission, then being approached for deals?

Either way, it's amazing to have remastered footage of Mama Tried and Lovelight, with a multi-track surround mix, as well as a good multi-track mix of the Dark Star.

As far as aborting songs go, The Eleven seems like the most difficult thing they played in this period so I don't blame them for having some troubles with it. As for High Time, I'm yet to hear a '69 or '70 version of it that I think comes close to the studio recording (and didn't Garcia say in an interview he didn't rate his singing on the studio recording anyway?) so maybe they started it a few times and just thought it was weak so gave up.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Apr 28, 2012 11:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Woodstock Saint Stephen cut or did they really just bail out?

According to McNally, the Dead were asked to sign the movie release before the show, and refused. They didn't change their minds afterwards...

So I'm not sure what the motive of mixing & editing the Dead's performance would've been, but someone did it at some point. Maybe they were hoping the Dead would relent & allow something to be included.
I guess as a long-term strategy, it worked - after 40 years, the Dead finally gave permission!

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Apr 28, 2012 7:56pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Woodstock Saint Stephen cut or did they really just bail out?

I'll echo WT -- really interesting! I'm not particularly knowledgeable, but now I've watched those clips and I'm a little more knowledgeable, anyway.

I don't know video or audio, but the second cut seems really clear (and jarring). That kind of thing can happen on my video camera if I turn it off -- of course, different time and technology, but my off-the-cuff, uninformed reaction is that it makes me think of a power cut that someone edited around later.

I may be projecting here, but they actually look scared to me. I think Phil says in his book that he looked over at Jerry and Jerry looked scared, and it was the only time he'd ever seen Jerry look that way on stage. So maybe I'm just projecting from remembering that -- but Bobby on Mama Tried seems wobbly as anything, like he wants to be anywhere but where he is.

I guess the insanely long Lovelight was a case of, "Oh geez please let Pig take over."

The link:

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Apr 29, 2012 12:09am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Woodstock Saint Stephen cut or did they really just bail out?

They're not all smiles, that's for sure.

Phil: "I look over at Jerry; for the first time ever, I see fear in his eyes."
McNally: "Hart looked over at Garcia as they were about to begin, and saw fear in his eyes. Mickey thought to himself, 'Oh man, we're in trouble.'"

Phil & Frankie Weir both attest that Weir got shocked by a big blue spark from his mike when he started singing, knocking him on his ass. So it's no wonder Weir looks wobbly.
Phil described the "blue balls of lightning scurrying across the stage."

Garcia: "We were just plumb atrocious... We were on a metal stage and it was raining...and I saw blue balls of electricity bouncing across the stage and leaping onto my guitar when I touched the strings... People behind the amplifiers kept yelling, 'The stage is collapsing!'... Our performance onstage was musically a total disaster that is best left forgotten."

Tom Constanten: "I was the only one in the band that had a good time... The guitarists were getting shocked from their strings. Bob described his strings as being like barbed wire. The electricity wasn't grounded... The stage was swaying back and forth. Phil was visualizing the headlines the next day: 'Huge Rock and Roll Disaster - Thousands Maimed.'"

This post was modified by light into ashes on 2012-04-29 07:09:51

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Apr 29, 2012 1:21am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Woodstock Saint Stephen cut or did they really just bail out?

Did any camera at Woodstock catch those blue lightning/electrical balls? You'd think any photog would instantly think of headlines, too ... and want to get it on film. If something newsworthy happened, signing or not wouldn't make a difference -- there's no assumption of privacy/right to control your image at that point.

Of course, it could have happened too quickly, with cameras off or aiming the wrong way. And the lightning balls could have been rather more visible in another dimension than on film.

Could the part where Bob was knocked down by the spark be the missing part of St Stephen? And perhaps related to power zapping off? (Would that have effected cameras?) It certainly doesn't seem to be the start of Mama Tried, where as you've noted, Bob and Phil are both in the same position as the end of St Stephen.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Apr 29, 2012 2:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Woodstock Saint Stephen cut or did they really just bail out?

"Could the part where Bob was knocked down by the spark be the missing part of St Stephen?"

That occurred to me too... No way to be sure, though. Could've been a power outage, too...
I don't think there's a proper multi-camera video of St Stephen available, just the one camera which mostly stays on Jerry. I notice in the second verse he's looking over Bob's way.
Must've been brave of Weir to sing Mama Tried after that. Wouldn't you know, the film editors would polish up Mama Tried, and leave hidden the song we REALLY want to see!

I do suspect those blue balls of electricity were more visible in a certain altered state of mind... The Dead were apparently far more aware of things going wrong than the audience/camera crew!
Usually Dead audiences were quite attentive to things like lightning-bolts onstage, etc... This wasn't a normal Dead audience, though; and perhaps they could barely see the band anyway in the dark!

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Poster: William Tell Date: Apr 28, 2012 10:38am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Woodstock Saint Stephen cut or did they really just bail out?

Hey Arck & LiA: just wanted you both to know how much I enjoyed reading your back and forth...great stuff.

Reminds me of the times I used to do exactly this--as you both know, just going through some "down time" on the DEAD front recently--and how great it was to compare notes with someone as interested.

Never could get much out of the Woodstock recordings...the overall sound is so low energy (lack of drive/intensity...? fear of shocks? ;) ), not unlike the late 70s (ie, the mix, not the band per se) just doesn't compare to the sound of so many other 69 shows (ie, apart from the band's lackluster approach, and the tech issues, etc., etc.).